I was just asked by someone just today:
Do they arrest people for DUI in Harrisburg?
I asked that person, "Absolutely". I went on to tell that person that unlike other areas in the country where a police officer may call a cab or offer a person a ride home, it is quite clear that in the Harrisburg area they mean business when it comes to doing the best they can to enforce Pennsylvania DUI offenses. I assured the person that the Harrisburg Police Department, the Lower Paxton Police Department, the Middletown Police Department, the Derry Township Police Department, the Swatara Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police did make a lot of arrests for DUI.
Then came a question that made me pause because no one had asked me this question before on an initial phone consultation.
The person asked, "What sort of training do they get?"
The truth is that the typical patrol officer gets very, very little training. At the local police academy held at HACC, municipal police officers will receive only six (6) hours of total training in DUI enforcement which mainly surrounds how to safely handle a drunk as opposed to the correct detection of DUI drivers. The Standardized Field Sobriety Tests are only very barely covered. It is only with this most minimal amount of information that officers are sent out on the roads to try to enforce Pennsylvania DUI laws. With this minimal amount of training, mistakes and false arrests for Pennsylvania DUI is not only possible, but assured. It is time that we demand that police officers get the training that they need and they deserve. It is not just about road safety but also to make sure that only the truly guilty are convicted.
-Justin J. McShane, Esquire, Pennsylvania DUI Attorney
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